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DPS to vote on new buses: parents, union react

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DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT) - As long-term problems unravel at Dayton Public Schools, there's finally some understanding from parents who see the push for change.

"I feel for the superintendent because I feel like she kind of came into a mess," said parent LaTeasa Spears.

Spears has been trying to get reliable busing for her kids, for five years. Today, a little hope, after hearing the district could fund a new fleet,

"They need them, yes," she said.

Last Thursday, the school board met with the Bob Harmon, the state's transportation director. The group ultimately proposed to finance up to 100 new buses, but LaTeasa's hope has quickly turned to concern. Among other ideas, the board proposed using RTA passes for seventh and eighth grades, and cutting some routes to charters and parochial schools.

"Which then would put us in a bind because our children go to a charter school," said Spears.

It's a step forward for the district, but a setback for this family. Meanwhile, Jim Tackett, a representatives with the drivers' union OAPSE Local 627, is not happy about his group's absence from discussions.

"No one called to inform us from management or the board, to say, 'Hey, you know, the director of transportation is coming into town,'" Tackett said. "'Do you think you could have a representative or two over there to give your input?' That would have been nice. That's where we want to be.'"

Tackett's worked to improve communication, but agrees replacing the aging fleet fixes one of the biggest problems.

"You know, we were very happy to see that," he added. "That was a really good step in the right direction."

His other big issue is the need to change the route system, which is already in the works.

"You can mark that off the checklist as another way to get transportation back to where we need it to be," he said.

As the district works quickly to find solutions, parents say they'd also like more input on talks that will affect their children.

"The things that they're trying to do, I don't think they're discussing it with the parents, at all," Spears said.

The school board votes tomorrow on whether to invest in transportation. Members say DPS hasn't invested in new buses since 2010.

Tackett plans to address the school board at their Tuesday meeting.

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